Whatever you choose on the Swedish menu, if it contains traditional ingredients, you are almost surely to be taken into an empire of culinary excellence.
Have you tried the divine
Swedish oysters, herring and wild game in cranberry sauce? A tasting of Swedish
The fundamentals of Swedish
culinary cultural are traditional specialities, including salmon, herring and
other fish, wild game, berries and mushrooms.
Sverige or the Kingdom
of Sweden is a country in northern
Europe, on the shores of the Baltic Sea. Sweden occupies the southeastern part of the
Scandinavian Peninsula, bordering with Norway
to the west and Finland
to the northeast.
Sweden covers an area of 450 000 km², of
which 8% is cultivated land, 53% is forested, 11% are mountains and 9% are
lakes and rivers. The capital city is Stockholm,
and other large cities are Göteborg, Malmö, Helsingborg and Uppsala. Some say that Sweden is a
small nation in a large country, as it has a population of just over 9, 000, 000.
During the 18th century, Sweden was a
military power, though it has not participated in a single war for almost two
centuries. During the politically unstable 20th century, it always took a
neutral position on world events, and succeeded in maintaining this position
during the two world wars. The results are successful economic policies, a very
high standard of living and a developed social welfare system.
Sweden has been a member of the European Union since
1995. The radical transformations the country has undergone in this century
have made it a more modern, sophisticated and international community.
All this, together with its
tradition, hospitality, climate, and abundance of seasonal foods, has left its
mark on Swedish cuisine.
Characteristics of the cuisine
The Swedes are well known as
gourmands who are always looking to tempt their taste buds. Anyone planning to
will be in for a pleasant surprise - the consistent high quality of Swedish
food and restaurants, in combination with an unforgettable ambiance,
hospitality and professional service.
Swedish agriculture is in the
process of transforming into long-term and more human and ecological methods of
cultivation and management. This, together with the positive ecological
predispositions, gives meat, vegetables, grains and other products of excellent
Whatever you choose
on the Swedish menu, if it contains traditional ingredients, you are almost
surely to be taken into an empire of culinary excellence.
The fundamentals of Swedish
culinary cuisine are traditional specialities made from high quality
ingredients, including salmon, herring and other fish, wild game, berries and
mushrooms. Fish and meat have always played a crucial role in the Swedish diet.
During the long winters, the lack of fresh vegetables is reflected in the
traditional menus. The greatest national delicacies are the Swedish shellfish,
and we recommend you try the oysters which have a fantastic taste, thanks to
their maturation in cold water.
Pickled cabbage and berry jams,
especially cranberry, are a source of vitamin C through the long winter.
Cranberry jam is also added to heavy meat dishes, both due to their excellent
flavour and their digestive properties. A somewhat more exclusive jam, though
still very common in Swedish cuisine, is the blackberry jam, which is one of
the dishes traditionally served at the Nobel Prize awards dinner.
The long tradition of hunting
and fishing in Sweden
depends on the distance to the coast or the forest. Hunters usually hunt for
elk and moose.
Three meals are typically
served in the Swedish home: breakfast, lunch and dinner. A hot meal is served
in all schools at lunchtime.
Among the working folk, lunch
is usually a lighter meal for example, a salad and a baguette, leaving the main
position to dinner, when a hot meal is served. If you eat everything you put on
your plate, the Swedes will consider you to be a person of good manners. One
reason for this is they are very humble and not wasteful.
You are sure to find some of
these dishes on the Swedish table:
- Smörgåsbord - an open table offering
- Köttbullar - meat balls
- Inlagd sill - herring in brine
- Gravad lax - dried and salted
- Kräftor - freshwater crustaceans
- Kåldolmar - cabbage rolls
- Pannkakor - thin pancakes, like crêpes
- Ärtsoppa - pea soup
- Kroppkakor - potato dumplings
filled with pork
- Blodpudding - black pudding
- Falukorv - Falun sausages
- Janssons frestelse - a dish of potatoes,
garlic, anchovies and cream
- Knäckebröd - traditional Swedish
- Smörgåstårta - sandwich cake
- Apple, blueberry and
- milk - Sweden is
the country with the world's highest milk consumption
- Filmjölk - sour milk or yogurt
- Kava - Sweden is one of the greatest coffee
consumers, right after Finland
- Natural juices
- Glögg - mulled wine
- Champis and Pommac -
- Absolut Vodka
Traditional Swedish cuisine is
filled with culinary delicacies: from seafood, poultry, lamb, beef, veal, wild
game, to excellent dairy products, mushrooms and berries: cranberries,
blueberries and blackberries. The food in Sweden is the result of its
agriculture, but also its natural diversity: forests, mountains, lakes and
rivers. Traditional methods of food preparation are smoking, fermentation,
salting, drying, marinating and poaching.
Once, the rich traditional
Swedish cuisine was dependent on the seasons. Summer was always associated with
tasty pleasures and sensuality, while the remaining seasons, due to the harsh
climate, depended on preserved foods. Until just a few decades ago, fresh food
was only available during the sunny and warm part of the year.
Spring and early summer were
awaited with great delight, together with the perch, roosters, baked rolled
herring fillets, fresh green asparagus and the first strawberries. The first
potatoes cooked in spices were revered, as they arrived steaming at the table
with a coating of butter. During the summer, meals were served on terraces,
picnics were organised, and gatherings to celebrate food were frequent.
Off season traditional cuisine
During the summer and short
maturation period, fruits and crops were harvested for consumption throughout
the rest of the year, and the Swedes based their survival on the summer
harvest. Cabbage and potatoes were kept in cellars for the winter, rye bread
was prepared and dried so as to last longer, while fresh bread was a treat for
only the highest classes of society.
The fruit available in the
winter was more precious than the summer apples or pears, regardless of the
taste, and the majority of fruit was used to make jam and stored for the
winter. For the same reason, the consummation of fresh vegetables was
considered to be wasteful.
Drinking fresh milk, and
eating butter or eggs was considered to be an unimaginable pleasure. Milk was
fermented or enriched with bacterial cultures and consumed as yogurt or other
A full pantry was the pride of
every homemaker, and a guarantee for a plentiful winter.
Sweden's new cuisine has evolved from its traditional
roots and, in addition to the high quality ingredients and excellent taste, it
has become famous for its creativity and innovativeness, design and play of
colours on the table. Cranberries, root vegetables, herring, wild game and
whole milk cheeses are used in completely new ways, and the senses are inspired
by the endless forests, lakes and sea coast, and the everyday life.
Whatever you choose on the
Swedish menu, if it contains traditional ingredients, it is sure to take you
into an empire of culinary excellence. All that is left is to wish you Smaklig
måltid or "enjoy the meal"!
- The capital Stockholm is the
world's cleanest city.
- The Swede best known to
children is Pipi Longstockings.
- Greta Garbo was one of Sweden's
greatest ever femme fatales.
- Alfred Nobel is a Swede
we have all heard of.
- The Celsius temperature
scale is of Swedish "origin".
- ABBA and disco mania came
to us from Sweden.
- Ingmar Bergman was a
Swedish film director of world acclaim.
- Absolute Vodka is a must
on the list.
- Volvo and SAAB are
absolutely cool cars.
- IKEA, need we say more?